Mutombo swats his way into second
Houston's Dikembe Mutombo makes his 3,190th block in his side's win against the Lakers.
Last Modified: 12 Jan 2007 03:20 GMT

Dikembe Mutombo eclipses "the Captain" but another Rocket still leads by a long way [GALLO/GETTY]

Dikembe Mutombo moved past Kareem Abdul-Jabbar into second place on the all-time blocks list as the Houston pulled away for a 102-77 win Wednesday over Los Angeles.

Juwan Howard scored a season-high 23 points and Rafer Alston 20 for the Rockets, who busted open a close game by outscoring the Lakers by lopsided 55-31 in the second half.
A driving force behind the Rockets' seventh win in eight games was the 40-year-old Mutombo, a four-time Defensive Player of the Year who continues to a play like he was 10 years younger.

Mutombo moved past Abdul-Jabbar with his 3,190th career block when he swatted a shot by the Andrew Bynum with 3:17 remaining in the third quarter.  He celebrated the block with the customary wag of his finger.


"When I came in the league 16 years ago, I told myself before I walk away from this game, I just wanted to be remembered for one thing," Mutombo said.


"And that is to be remembered for being one of the greatest defensive players to ever play this game."


Mutombo added another block in the fourth quarter, finishing with five on the night.


He still is 639 blocks behind Rockets icon Hakeem Olajuwon for first place on the all-time list.


Spurs cook Nuggets


Meanwhile, Tony Parker had 26 points and seven assists to lead four starters in double figures as the San Antonio Spurs posted a 92-83 win over the Denver Nuggets.


Tim Duncan collected 19 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks and Manu Ginobili added 16 points and four steals for San Antonio, which has won three straight National Basketball Association games.


JR Smith returned after serving a 10-game suspension for his involvement in the brawl against New York on December 16.


"It was fun. It was good to have him back," Denver guard Allen Iverson said. "He played well.  You could tell he's been working while he's been out. It was just good to have him back. Another piece to our puzzle."


Smith looked a bit rusty, finishing with 12 points and two steals in 32 minutes off the bench. He made 5-of-13 shots.


"It felt good to get out there and play with my team mates," Smith said.  "It felt real good.


"Instead of playing the same guys every day at practice, we finally get to go up against somebody else."


Iverson scored 33 points for the Nuggets, who fell to 3-7 since the four-time scoring champion was acquired in a trade from Philadelphia. It was just his third game with at least 30 points since December 22.


"I just really got into a little rhythm," Iverson said.

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